January 2016



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Jan. 15th, 2016

5 Fandom Friday: 5 Ways I’m Going To Take Chances In 2016

5 Fandom Friday: 5 Ways I'm Going To Take Chances In 2016

5fandomfridayThis is my first time taking part in 5 Fandom Friday. If you’re interested in learning more you can find out about it here.

1 – Blogging

For 2016 I’ve chosen the word evolve, and part of that is relaunching my blog. It’s a bit step for me because I’ve decided to share a lot more about my life and experiences as a disabled girl with glasses. Plus I’m going to be delving into the world of reviews, tutorials and beauty. The later is pretty scary for me because I’ve never been a popular pretty girl, I have enough confidence to say I’m pretty, but all my life I’ve been told I’m ugly. I’m also overweight now, something that has been a big issue for me due to a past relationship being emotionally abusive. Their weight issues were transferred onto me and at one point last year I was terrified to visit home because of it. Towards the end of last year I decided I’d had enough and after a few more emotional breakthroughs I realised that I didn’t need to keep apologising for my weight, for my skin problems, which were due to ongoing health problems. I’ve had a lot of stuff to overcome with my disabilities but this was something that I hadn’t been able to come to terms with until recently.

2 – Gaming videos

Following on from above, I’m aiming to try to put together my first gaming video this year. That is a pretty big step for me as we’ve all seen the type of criticism you can get online, especially on youtube. Criticism isn’t something I’ve ever been good with, but it is something I’ve been working on and I finally feel ready to do this.

3 – More diverse and difficult games

This is quite light-hearted in comparison to the others. Last year I decided to try a game which I thought I never had a chance of playing, let alone completing. Yet I did it. So this year I want to up my game, so to speak, and see what else I can complete that is outside my comfort zone.

4 – Professional

This year I complete my postgraduate in Information and Library studies and after that, well… there’s a lot of chances for me to take.

5 – Writing

Not so much a chance to take, but something that could lead to chances. I need to get back to writing and would like to complete the first draft of my novel this year.

Mirrored from Ruby Wings Blog.

Jan. 11th, 2016

New year, new blog: Evolve

New year, new blog: Evolve

evolveFor the past three years I have joined my friend Haley in choosing a word for the upcoming year. 2014 was change, 2015 was discipline and now 2016 is evolve. Why evolve? Well, over the last year I have been developing and making changes to different aspects of my life. This year I finish my Post grad in Information and Library Studies, ending my studies and flinging me into the big wide world of careers. I also turned 30 last year, and realised that there were some things I wanted to do. More importantly I recognised what was stopping me from doing them. One of them was running an active blog about my life as a disabled student, geek, gamer and bookworm. However, I’d tried a specific blog in the past (a World of Warcraft blog) and it didn’t work for me. Likewise, while I’m a massive bookworm and devour books (175 last year), I’m not really a book reviewer. I like things because they appeal to me, and I’m not really one for over analysing them.

This led me to realise that any blog I decided to create was not going to be just one thing. I’m not just one thing, so why should my blog be that way? So instead of just being a review blog, a disability blog or a beauty blog; Ruby Wings Blog has become a hybrid. You’re probably wondering how exactly does beauty fit in to all that. I’m not known for my style, I’m strictly a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. I don’t follow fashion, and usually what is ‘in’ makes me want to vomit. However, I love beauty products. I love creating and experimenting with make up. I’m far from being an expert, that’s for sure. Applying make-up is no easy task for me; Im very short sighted. Eyeliner is particularly tricky, and so Ive had to find ones that work for me (kohl pencils) or using eye shadow as an alternative. My fingers and hands are often very painful and unsteady as well, which again affects how I use make up. These are things that most beauty blogs and tutorials do not take into account, theyre circumstances unique to a minority. This was one of the driving reasons behind adding beauty to my blog. I have beauty issues of my own that I am trying to overcome and new things I want to learn. I also like to experiment and decided to share these experiences in my blog to provide reviews and tutorials from a different perspective. Sometimes it feels to me that most beauty blogs and tutorials are on a totally different skill level than the average person, especially if youre disabled and short sighted.

There are a lot of things that my disabilities stop me from doing, from going out and being active to being able to make delicate things with my hands. As a libra I love art, I love creating. Over time I’ve come to realise that my gift to the world is words. I’ve experimented (and continue to do) with art, graphics, and photography, yet words are my forte. I can write anything, provided I remember to do so and have the motivation. I’ve always been out spoken and opinionated, yet a past of bullying and emotional abuse had left me struggling to share my real self. Well. No more. I suffer from depression and probably always will do, but I have begun to finally put the past behind me. Ironically it was one of those random feel good sharing things on facebook that did it – the people from your past only know the past you. Yes I have made mistakes, I have not been the greatest person I could be. But who hasn’t? Who doesn’t have regrets? They’re natural, and it is time that I stop them from holding me back.

So, what can you expect from my new blog? Well each month I will be SPILLing the beans:

Sharing Saturdays – I’ll be sharing pretty much anything I’ve found online; from awesome websites, tutorials, art, games.

Product Reviews – I will be reviewing at least one thing a month; that could be beauty products, film, tv, books, games and anything else. I’ll also be trying out various online tutorials and recipes I find and showing you the results.

Interviews – Each month I will be interviewing someone from the online world. They could be someone creative, quirky, geeky or a fellow spoonie. I’m really not picky; the whole point of this is to open up dialogue, share with the world and if you wish, bring awareness to your work or a cause. So feel free to volunteer!

Look Book – I will be experimenting with make up and sharing some of my creations and experiences. I’m particularly looking forward to learning nail art which I have never tried before.

Learn about Me – I want to begin to take part in various blogging memes/quizzes/surveys, so there will be at least one per month.

I’m giving myself a month to do all these things because health and studies will interfere and I don’t think blogging any more is sensible for either, or legitimately going to happen. It will be my responsibility to plan ahead and get my act together, which is daunting, but the next step for me.

So, what do you think? Comment to let me know what you’re excited about!

P.S. The whole blog has been redone so feel free to take a nosey around at the newly written content :)

Mirrored from Ruby Wings Blog.

Sep. 27th, 2015

From Prague to Masters

From Prague to Masters

It has been a crazy September and even now it’s almost at an end so much is just beginning! I spent 10 days in Prague, Czech Republic for our World of Warcraft Guild meet 2015 and for a celebratory holiday for graduating/my 30th birthday in a few weeks. It was fantastic to see our friends again as we’ve not been on a guild meet for a few years, and Prague was a gorgeous city. We went to a few specific places but most of the time we just picked a direction and walked. It is literally one of those cities where you feel like you are walking through a living breathing art gallery. The people were so friendly as well, and the food was amazing. Massive portions of gorgeous dishes. It’s taken Chris over a week to stop saying ‘I miss Czech food :(‘. Munich was at the top of my list of places I’ve visited but I think Prague has either taken over or is resting in joint first place. We only saw a part of the city, staying in the Old Town, and there was so much more to see. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to visit.


We came back from Prague and I jumped straight into my Masters degree at the University of Strathclyde; Information and Library Studies. The weirdest part of this is suddenly finding myself a computer science student. I have always been an Arts student. I’ve only had one week of classes, and half the classes were cancelled due to it being week 1, so next week is my first full week. I am in Tuesday and Wednesday all day, which is a long time but there are two bonuses to this; 1) I have no 3+ hour breaks in which to get bored or feel ill in, and 2) all my classes are in a nice neat block and not across the campus from one another. I’ve already found the places to eat, drink and rest in those buildings and in the next few weeks I’ll start exploring the rest of the campus bit by bit.


I’m hesitant to say the next bit, because I’m aware I’ve said it before in regards to teaching… but… I really feel settled already. I feel like this is the right thing for me. I enjoyed teaching, but as my placement went on there were parts of it that began to wear away on me; the politics, the two-facedness of some people, the endless critiques and the huge amount of work. A lot of the teachers were welcoming, but some were not. However, everyone I’ve met so far in relation to my course – teachers, students, library staff at the Mitchel Library (placement) – have all been really nice, friendly and enthusiastic. And more importantly, I don’t feel overly geeky. I am a self admitted geek, it is who I am, and I’ve noticed teachers come in all flavours, often not geeky, sometimes looking down on geeky. However, when you’re sitting in your first lecture and the lecturer says ‘I think we’re all geeks here’ in response to a student apologising for being geeky.. I think I’ll be ok I also like looking around the class and seeing marvel t-shirts, harry potter necklaces and so forth. I need to break out the Star Wars and World of Warcraft t-shirts  I just don’t feel judged and everyone I met at the Mitchel Library, which is the base of our placements (1 day a week in both semesters) they all welcomed us with open arms. Like, this is the next generation of librarians and we want to help them become a part of this amazing tradition and profession.


One thing that has been really important to me is that among the jargon and technical stuff, the point of what a library is, what it should/can be and it’s impact on the whole community (whether it be local, academic and so forth). It is important. It can and will change lives. That was why I looked at teaching; I wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives, I wanted to help those who were ill or bullied and show them that they can do it. However, teaching only covers one subject and one aspect of people’s lives – being a part of a library means helping everyone and not being limited to one subject area. One of our assignments is to do research in 3 subjects, one arts, one sciences, and one engineering, to prepare us for working outside our comfort zone because we could be asked to research/find information of any topic at any time.


My placement really excites me because it feels like a continuation of my time in a school and a combination of all those thoughts. I’ll be working in the schools in Glasgow, and in simple terms, evaluating the current system the library is running in the schools. Basically the librarian is a part of Glasgow Libraries and then visits the school so many days a week. This means a lot of travelling around, and I’ll be splitting the huge list with my placement partner and doing it over both semesters. I’m going to be talking to the students, teachers and library staff to find out what they need and want. The most important part of this is it isn’t just an assignment, it is actual work. Everything I do in this placement matters and will be used by my supervisor to actually evaluate the system. So when I go in to a school and talk to the kids, I could be making a huge difference on their lives. But also I’ll be helping the teachers too. It is something that fits me and my desires/ideas/etc. for contributing perfectly.


I am also now a member of two libraries; Glasgow and my home council. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like. MORE BOOKS. I now have access to a huge range of resources for my Masters, but we are actively encouraged to use the library for pleasure reading because that is what libraries are for! So I went through my massive to read list and now have two lists on goodreads:

There were some cross overs, and local library is still easier as it’s literally at the end of my road, but I will definitely be grabbing some from Glasgow libraries. I’ve already ordered two I have been dying to read and hopefully will be able to pick them up when I’m there on Thursday.

In other geeky news I have been playing Guild Wars 2 again. I will be popping back into World of Warcraft for bits and pieces, such as holidays like Brewfest, but otherwise my motivation has just ceased up and died. I went in to do the 5 pvp pet battles for pet battle weekend and just ended up going ‘meh’ and logging out again. I go through phases with everything, gaming is no exception. I will probably post more on GW2 and gaming in general soon.

Mirrored from .

Jun. 12th, 2015

It’s a 2.2!

It's a 2.2!

Yesterday I got my degree classification for my English Literature MA (hons) and it was a 2.2! In my previous entry I wrote about how bad I expected the result to be and honestly, I was not expecting a 2nd at all. I stared at the screen for several minutes before the hyper hysterical reality hit me and I have been on a high ever since. I am just so happy. I am extremely proud of my fellow students for getting their 2.1’s, I know how hard they worked for them – but I’m not jealous. A 2.2 is beyond my wildest dreams for four years that have been emotionally and physically difficult. I almost gave up this year, considering the idea of resitting my final year and I’m really glad I didn’t now. I’m still waiting for my individual module marks, but it is most likely my creative writing dissertation which boosted my final mark. I seriously doubt my exam results were that good.


They say you can do anything if you believe in it, if you put the work in and I finally feel like that is true. I had health problems during my first degree, however, they were mostly in the final part of my final year. I had to get an extension for my dissertation and that probably cost me a 1st. I was and still am overjoyed with the 2.1 I got, just as I am with this result. There are always going to be ‘what ifs’ and sometimes, especially when it’s due to health reasons beyond my control, it is easy to get lost in them. What if I hadn’t been so ill? What if I’d not missed so many classes? At the end of the day I am very lucky that it doesn’t matter. I’m already accepted into a Masters so the result didn’t matter – wait no, that is incorrect; it didn’t matter to my career, to my future. To me personally it matters. I would have been satisfied with a worse result, yet I would have felt terrible. Like a failure. Everyone around me would have told me not to be so silly, that even just completing a second degree with my health issues is a marvellous achievement – and they would have been right. I still would have felt bad. I still feel bad about my A-level results all those years ago despite holding two undergraduate degrees now.


Last time I got my degree classification I had just come out of a bad relationship, and while I was proud of myself, my future was completely up in the air. I had this awesome degree, loads of knowledge and experience in my mind and no idea what to do with it. No confidence to do anything with it. That was 8 years ago, and several months later I would make a choice to return to a game I still play today, the MMORPG World of Warcraft, after a chance meeting at my cousin’s wedding. There I met Chris, the amazing and loving man who has helped me through this degree and built my confidence up one bit at a time. I still have bad days, they will never go away, but I have hope and I have love. This time I am surrounded by love and support, people cheering me on and wanting me to do well – for myself.

Mirrored from .

Jul. 25th, 2014

10 years ago I was preparing for my first degree

… and now I’m preparing to go into the final year of my second degree. Since my last entry I’ve completed my exams, gotten the results, been on two holidays (Tenerife and then Norfolk) and moved house! My exam were results could have been better and definitely reflected the amount of classes I missed, but they could have been worse. I passed and no resits so I am heading into my final year – and I am beyond relieved to be doing the creative writing dissertation rather than the “normal” dissertation. I have absolutely no clue where I’d even start with that.


I’ve already had my classes confirmed and will be studying these alongside the creative writing dissertation; Children’s Literature, Popular Victorian Literature and Science Fiction (wooo!). I’ve not got the reading lists yet but I have started some prep reading which so far includes H.G Wells’ Time Machine and The Beetle by Richard Marsh.


I start back at Uni around 20th September, and in mid-August I’ll be back volunteering at the high school for one day a week. I’m also working on the university campus again this summer as a Frontline Assistant for registration and enrolment (the same job I did last year) and I’m currently in the middle of the training for it. It’s great to see some familar faces from last year and meet some awesome new people too, so really looking forward to it again.


Our new flat is awesome and we just moved the cats into it, and I’m happy to say they are settling in absolutely fantastic. They are loving the space and it’s great to have them around again, rather than poor George being stuck downstairs away from us (our desks were in the same room as the bed, which he likes to pee on…). In two weeks they’ll be able to go out in the gardens (both front and back are fairly large) and they’ll have a blast. There’s a tree at the end of the garden as well which I know they’ll be climbing when they’ve settled in. There are dogs on either side of us though so they’re going to need to get used to that, but it’s a good thing as we’re planning to get a dog in the future so this gets them used to it.


This is just a quick entry to update you all about stuff, more updates coming soon and maybe a topic or two of discussions.

Mirrored from .

May. 16th, 2014


The post exam entry is always a nerve wracking thing to write because reflecting on myself in an exam isn’t easy and I worry about being too over confident, about jinxing myself. They went ok, pretty sure there is no failures in there. As for actual marks? We’ll see.

So that is the end of year three and there are no resits in sight for the first time in 3 years. It is a glorious feeling knowing that my summer is completely free. It’s even better knowing that I go on holiday soon for two weeks in Tenerife. I can’t remember the last time I was away for two weeks. One week always feels too short, so really looking forward to the longer break – and after this year it feels very needed!

I have a lot of things I want to do this summer; explore, make home made ice cream, write, online projects – and I’m doing my best to do things in my own time without getting totally overwhelmed. One thing I do plan to do is blog more often; hopefully once a week and I have a growing list of topics I want to write about. The biggest of course being the new Star Wars films and the debunking of the Expanded Universe – but I won’t get into that now. It deserves and requires it’s own entry. So while I have lists of things to do this summer I am trying to spread them out and not stress when I don’t get things done.

I will still be working in the school until about the 20th June when the year ends and all going well will be back in August for the new year. I need to confirm it with the department head but I really want to continue doing it if I can. I’ve gotten so much out of it and I love it.

Mirrored from .

Apr. 22nd, 2014

2014 so far

Where to begin? As you can probably guess from the lack of posts since December it has been a busy and chaotic 2014 so far. Health has been up and down, lots of changes and moving home. The later came as a massive shock and couldn’t have come at a worst time. We’re all settled in now though and life is moving onwards. I am currently in my exam period for year 3. All assessments have been handed in, although I’m waiting for grades for them still. I have 3 exams; two from Semester 1 and one from Semester 2. I was fortunate enough to have the exam gods bless me with one exam a week, which gives me plenty of time to revise for each one individually. The downside? The Medieval Literature one is first up. It’s not too bad; it’s just the translation part of the exam which has me pretty nervous. I’m not to bad reading Medieval English – in my head. But I need to write it down in modern prose… not so easy. The other two are a matter of re-reading, remembering themes and planning questions.


At the beginning of the year I was invited to choose a Word of the Year by Haley. To read more about this idea see this useful blog post. Googling word of the year gives you a range of different websites; dictionaries mainly but also spiritual and it isn’t specific to one religion. For me it’s spiritual, it has it’s roots in Paganism but this is something you can do whether you’re religious, spiritual or not. At the end of the day it is about positivity, making steps towards something better for yourself.




That is my word of 2014 and it has so far been an apt choice. This year has already brought about some changes, whether I’ve wanted them or not. I chose it because I knew this year I would be starting two things which would have big influences on my life; teaching placement and creative writing dissertation. I’ve been at my placement at a High School since February, initially starting for just the required 25-30 hours for my Humanities in the Classroom module and then being invited to stay on for the rest of the year. I’ve also been offered the chance to return next year, which I would love to do, but I need to take into consideration that it will be my final year and that means insanity in general. Plenty of time to decide about that anyway :)


I am absolutely loving my time at the school. I really lucked out and have had the opportunity to work with an awesome department full of supportive and friendly teachers of all levels and styles. It really helped to be working alongside two student teachers currently working on their PGDE as a lot of the work they had to do, I was also doing i.e. reflecting on lesson plans and working with certain classes. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I can finally say ‘I found it’! That thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I’d love to end up an author full time, but I’m nearing 30 and it’s time to settle down into a career that will last. It has been a long time in coming but I have finally found it; Teaching. After the first day I had fallen in love with it.


I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it physically but another change, a positive one, is that my Physio is working. I have the loveliest Physio and cannot recommend the team at Glasgow Physio Center highly enough. They’re awesome :) I have a 30 min session every week in which is usually spent 15 mins working on my problem areas with massaging techniques and stretches and then 15 minutes pilates. I’m hoping to move up to 30 mins pilates over the summer.


This should hopefully break my lack of blog entries record now. I have a growing list of topics I want to blog about so I’ll try and get started on them soon! :) At the moment I’m getting over a bug that I’ve had for 3 weeks – yep my entire easter break, which sucked – and during my recovery I have gotten addicted to pinterest thanks to Haley and Claire. You can find me over here.




Mirrored from .

Sep. 27th, 2013

All Change

In the past few weeks I’ve had to change my class timetable several times, so the post I previously wrote about classes is now pretty much null and void. One of the changes I had expected; Creative Writing Dissertation is for 4th years or 3rd years doing a general humanities degree. Since I am neither it means that I don’t need to take it this year. The good news is that I don’t need to resubmit a portfolio next year; I just need to email to say I’m still interested. While I was looking forward to it, I have to admit I am a little glad of the delay. The last year has been very difficult and while I’ve been planning my novel out in my head, I’ve not actually touched it for months. So a year of getting involved with it again will really help :)

The other change is that I am no longer taking comparative literature courses. I received a very unprofessional and condescending email from one of the senior lecturers. There was a specific bit where my disabilities were mentioned and that is all I am saying. I felt extremely uncomfortable after this and have therefore chosen not to take the courses. I’m disappointed because I was looking forward to them, but the bad outweighed the good. It has actually worked out in my favour because it meant I was taking an extra course due to the weird 20 credits for comparative literature modules, where as english literature ones are 30 credits. That means two courses per semester, where as with the comparative literature I was doing 3-4 – the comparative literature ones lasted 2 semesters. Each english lit course is just one semester. It likewise has given me a much nicer timetable; I’m off both wednesday and thursday, with one 10am lecture on fridays.

So what am I actually taking now? I’m still taking Victorian Literature. This term it is accompanied by Medieval English Literature:

On this course Honours students will have the opportunity to explore texts from the period of Chaucer’s lifetime, when English literature exploded into life. The texts selected will be contextualised within the fourteenth-century cultures and societies within which they were produced and received. Themes and theories covered will be based on topics such as authorship, patronage, sexuality, gender, piety, personal identity, historicism, legend, medievalism, audience, manuscript production. At the end of the course, assessment will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability (1) to translate and comment on select passages of late medieval literary texts; (2) to discuss and locate select texts within the culture, society and linguistic and literary milieux in which they were produced; (3) to discuss the approaches and techniques available to and used by critics and commentators in the interpretation of these texts.


For those of you who don’t know; I did my history of art dissertation on manuscripts. Apocalyptic manuscripts to be precise. I also really enjoyed a manuscript based course I did in third year, so this is essentially looking at manuscripts from the opposite side; literature rather than art. I also took a previous medieval studies course during the same degree, so I figured this would be building up on knowledge I already have.

In term 2 I still have Humanities in the classroom, and now also Modern Literature 1945 to Present.

This course offers an opportunity to study the key writers, genres and movements of the immediate post-WWII period through to the contemporary moment. Through an extremely varied programme of lectures and seminars, students are introduced to a range of literary texts (poetry, drama, novels and graphic novels), placed in relevant historical and cultural contexts and critical debates. Students will be encouraged to read widely in order to understand the diversity and innovation that characterizes contemporary writing. Lectures will address the impact of a range of important cultural and political concerns (e.g. war, racial and ethnic diversity, national identities, changing attitudes to sex and sexuality, ecological crisis) as well as changes (and continuities) in the forms and genres through which writers have engaged with these issues.

I like my literature the opposite way to my art; I prefer modern literature, especially this time period. Plus getting to study Angela Carter, Neil Gaimen and graphic novels is just awesome.

The class changes are not the only changes. For the past month and a bit I have been working at my university as a part of the enrolment and registration support team. And as of today, that job is officially over :( I really enjoyed the job and met some amazing people who I intend to stay in contact with. It just feels so weird now that it is over!

I also had my assessment with the private physio and wow, just wow. I don’t remember ever not feeling some sort of pain or discomfort, and she did some nerve work on my arm/shoulder/neck where there is pressure on the nerve. I felt pain free for a while and it was blissful. She was lovely, so understanding and not at all judgemental. So I’m just starting a new period in my life; she’s the first person in 8 years to actually help me battle against my hypermobility syndrome. I have my first proper appointment on monday, and I just hope I can go. All that time around freshers has inevitably given me Freshers Flu. I’m due a new flu vaccine and it only covers the most popular forms of flu, so this one has managed to slip in under the radar and I feel terrible.


Mirrored from .

Aug. 31st, 2013

I have classes!

It’s been a small nightmare getting my classes sorted out for this year. Due to the resit I had to wait for someone to progress me onto the next year, and this was delayed by some major problems with the entire system. Those were finally sorted at the beginning of the week and mine wasn’t. It took all week, but finally Friday I got my classes sorted. So now it’s time for the annual pre-term what is Heather studying this year blog post.

I actually have no idea whether some of these courses are for both semesters, or if I need to pick a semester to study them in. Likewise with the two core English Literature lectures I’ve no idea whether I need to take both or one per semester. As for whether there are tutorials and assessments for them (just confirmed that they are not assessed) – your guess is as good as mine. So there will probably be another update in a few weeks before classes start.

Let’s start off with the two core lectures – basically the ones the department force you to take:


ENGLIT 4060 – LC01   Introducing Forms and Genres
To introduce students entering the Honours English Literature Programme to the key literary genres and forms that they will encounter in a range of course options within the programme: to present and analyse examples of a variety of literary forms and demonstrate how they have evolved within literary history; to introduce students to the critical debates that relate to the study of  literary form and genre.
ENGLIT 4061 – Introduducing Concepts and Approaches
To introduce students entering the Honours English Literature Programme to a set of key literary concepts and critical approaches to literature that they will encounter in a range of course options within the programme: to present and analyse examples of a variety of concepts and demonstrate how they have evolved within literary history; to introduce students to the critical debates that relate to the study of  literature.
Everything else was up to me and I chose:
ENGLIT 4014 – Literature 1780-1840 (aka Victorian Literature)
This course addresses prose, poetry and drama from the Nineteenth Century.  Students can expect to study the work of major novelists, such as George Eliot, as well as poetry by figures such as Lord Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Rudyard Kipling.  Students will be encouraged to place their understanding of such literary writings in context with some of the major social, historical and political developments in this period;  they will also be encouraged to draw upon the work of authors across the period, from the early novels of Charles Dickens in the 1840 to fin de siècle writings by Oscar Wilde and Robert Louis Stevenson from the 1890′s.
Creative Writing Dissertation
Creative writing, taught through workshops, is a valuable discipline in developing editorial, critical and creative skills. Students facing the demands of genre and the challenges of form become differently aware of the dynamics involved and of the values inherent in different kinds and combinations of creative work. They grow alert to issues of diction, syntax, tone, rhythm, structure and progression in their own and in their fellow students¹ writing, and this experience feeds into their reading and criticism. In seeing how form has been and can be honoured, subverted, developed and disrupted, they come to discriminate between authentic and factitious experiment, and to understand by imitation and example.

This dissertation course gives students an opportunity to build up their own work within a strict critical workshop context, and to become part of that context in appraising and encouraging the work of fellow writers. Each student, in relation to the writing of others, develops editorial and critical skills, while learning to work to length and to deadline. More than an exploration of self, the course is an exploration of the art of writing and an exploration of its techniques.

COMPLIT 4017 – LC01   The Brothers Grimm and the European Fairy Tale
This course will examine some of the tales written down by the Grimms and others, and students will discuss various interpretations to which they have been subjected. By focusing on various interpretations of tales (for example, psychological, literary, folkloristic, formalistic, feminist, Marxist) students will begin to see how this simplest form of narrative can carry so much importance for informing just how it is that we humans make meaning through telling stories.
COMPLIT 4016 – SM01   Infidelities
This course explores treatments of the theme of adultery and infidelity in some depth and across a wide range of texts and genres. Taking as its starting point representations of adultery in European narrative, the course will encourage students to analyse parallels and contrasts between the texts on thematic and stylistic levels and in relation to socio-cultural contexts, but will also require them to go beyond a mere thematic
reading to consider questions of gender, class, identity.
ENGLIT 4052 – LC01   Humanities in the Classroom (with work placement)
This course examines the effects of educational policy and methods on discipline formation in Scotland and Britain, from 1850 to the present.  It encourages all students to reflect critically on their own attributes, skills and experiences in learning and teaching, and gives those with an interest in a career in education an opportunity to become more familiar with aspects of professional life.  Working in groups as well as individually, students consider their disciplines from the outside, learning to explain key elements of them to a variety of non-specialists.  The course will include institutional visits to educational institutions.  It gives students an opportunity to apply and adapt their disciplinary knowledge to problems demanding multidisciplinary approaches.  The course’s emphasis on enquiry-based learning and assessment methods aims to improve students’ confidence, teamwork skills and presentation skills.
This version of the course includes a voluntary work placement in an educational institution or other location where education is provided.

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Aug. 23rd, 2013

Memories are just a memory (Things are looking up)

There! You see I did get to use the title after all… sort of ;)

I may be a little hyped up on coffee right about now. I had some after waking up from a nap feeling really yucky and while I do still feel sleepy, the coffee and food helped a lot. So instead of heading to bed here I am right now writing a pretty damn perky blog entry. The positive mood is not just down to the caffeine though; it’s a general feeling that hit me yesterday when I realised how much better I was feeling. Physically I’m not doing so good – ear/sinus infection & my dodgy knees playing up – but emotionally I’m good. It’s the first time since the start of this god forsaken year that I have felt happy and confident. I still feel guilty considering what happened to Az… how can I be happy when something so horrific has happened? I am still mourning him, I probably always will because the loss of a loved one – human or animal – never truly leaves us.

But you have to go on living, looking to the future rather than the past. That has been a very hard lesson for me to learn, especially as I have a photographic memory and can picture unhappy memories in a flash. It isn’t a flash back, it’s just a memory in great detail. I remember the first time I was bullied when a kid stuck pencils through the hole in the school chair when I was 5. I distinctly remember 5 years later when I stepped oddly on a stone while walking to Churchfields park and had my first hypermobility caused injury; a hairline fracture in my ankle. What I don’t remember is which ankle it was because that was the first of many ankle/foot related injuries that eventually stopped as my foot became strengthen through years of physiotherapy and wearing sports support bandages for years on end. My first day at St John Rigby and the years that followed, making crazy friends who are still with me to this day. The good memories and the bad memories. Then Hayes, Leeds and the last six years with my amazing fiance.

I’m tearing up as I think back over all this – but they aren’t tears of sadness. It isn’t my depression raising it’s ugly head. They are tears of joy, of understanding of being able to lay some demons to rest. Why has all this suddenly happened recently? It’s been a stepping stone of different stages, of long term and short term events that have built me back up from rock bottom. I’m far from perfect, far from healed and as I have always known, my depression will still be there. You can’t wash away all the bad things, you just have to learn to handle them with the help of others.

I’m probably feeling even more philosophical tonight because I just watched the first episode of the new Rizzoli & Isles series which starred the actor Lee Thompson Young. For those who don’t already know; the actor was found dead this week from apparent suicide. The details are still a mystery but it does seem that it was depression that led to his death. I know how it feels to feel that bad, that alone and that powerless. I am fortunate that people have been there to help me up, to support me and kiss away my tears. I will always be grateful to those people. When I hear that someone was unable to stop the pain and felt that their only option was death… it breaks my heart. It’s one of the reasons why I always offer people a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear and I speak openly about my problems. I’ve even heard someone crying before in a toliet at university and asked if they were ok. I know it sounds stupid but my hope was that the girl might register that even a stranger could care about her, that she wasn’t alone.

Since officially being accepted for honours I’ve had to sit and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for my academic profile to be progressed onto the next year. It has apparently been fixed, however, until mycampus (the system) has been updated after a major error happened, I won’t know for sure. It means I’m stuck waiting to find out what classes I actually have as no one has confirmed anything with me at all. I know I have creative writing both semesters and in semester 2 a course called “humanities in the classroom” which includes a work placement. I only know this because I had to apply separately for both of these. So I have no reading lists, which is a good and a bad thing. It means I get to read whatever I want to read – currently the Iron Druid Chronicles – but it also means less time to read stuff before the beginning of term. I’ve also heard that one course – the vampire literature one – may not even be happening this year *cries*. This means I may need to find another course from somewhere as well… but I will know nothing until mycampus is sorted. I am hoping – just like everyone else – that this will be the start of next week.

Wow.. this entry is going on for ages. I still have two more points to get through before I finish and head to bed. The first goes with the general feel of this entry; the future. Next wednesday I have my first physio appointment and I’m hoping praying that they can actually offer me something useful. This will be the third time having physio on my knees… having is actually the wrong term as the previous ones didn’t actually do much apart from show me how to do exercises and send me off to do them. The one in Leeds spent most of his time lecturing me on how I wasn’t standing/bending/moving correctly. Dude, you try having this condition and then tell me it’s easy to re-teach your entire body to stand/move/bend differently. Guilting someone into fixing their body when they cannot help it – my body thinks what it is doing is the natural normal behaviour of a body – doesn’t HELP. Anyway… rant over :P I was supposed to be talking about how I noticed this week my sudden vocabulary changes from “if I do creative writing, my novel/protagonist will be…” to “my novel/protagonist is going to be…”. No honours went losing out on the chance to start down the official creative writing road and while it is scary, it is damn exciting too. I can’t wait to get started!

And the last point finally; work and how well it has been going, and then that rant stole the show. Everyone is really friendly, and the only down side is the lack of stuff to do sometimes. However, the next few weeks will see that changing and I’ll probably find myself wishing for the good ole quiet days.

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Aug. 16th, 2013

A – Z Book survey

Found this thanks to Li, the original survey creator is Jamie @ the Perpetual Page-Turner :)


Author you’ve read the most books from:

I’m going to guess that it is Laurell K Hamilton as there are currently 23 books in her Anita Blake series, 8 Merry Gentry novels and various other books of hers that I have read and then there are the marvel comics as well. So all in all we’re looking at over 30 books :)

Best Sequel Ever:

Oh wow this is a hard question. I read a lot of series’ and trilogies – basically after the first book I tend to get hooked and devour everything else. I can’t actually pick just one, and so narrowing it down I have four. Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet – books 2, 3 & 4 were all amazing and I have re-read them so many times. Next up is Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy series, namely book 2 and 3 about Phedre (Kushiel’s Dart and Kushiel’s Chosen). They literally rocked my world.Those two are probably the top 2 for different reasons, so neither is first or second, both equal :)

The next one is relatively new to my book shelf – Michael Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles. Chris and I are just devouring all of these books right now. Each book is amazing, each following book manages to get even better. Then finally there is Gail Z Martin’s Chronicle of the Necromancer series. I was blown away by the first book and the sequels again were just amazing, brilliant writing.

Generally any series you see me reading on my good reads account must have a decent sequel because otherwise I’d have given up after the first or second book.

Currently Reading:

  • Dates from Hell (Anthology)
  • Tricked (Michael Hearne)
  • Goddess of the Sea ( P C Cast)

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Anything actually, I don’t have a particular drink associated to reading.

E-reader or Physical Book?

Sadly physical problems with my hands mean that holding books is quite painful and carrying them even more so. So e-reader wins for me right now.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Ha.. where do I start?! Probably Jonathan of Comte or George Cooper from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

This could apply to any book I’ve ever picked up really. So many incredible authors started with just trying one book and now I have/want to read everything by them.

Hidden Gem Book:

Anything by Marianne Curley or Catherine Fisher. Curley is an australian author and Fisher is British and so both tend to kinda get lost in amongst all the really well known authors. I always find their work to be unique and fascinating. They’re both fantasy/sci-fi/magic genre, but they do tend to mix and match a lot.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

I didn’t recognise this one until applying for my English literature degree at the University of Glasgow, and I had to think about WHY I wanted to study that course. I realised then that the most important moment of my reading life was due to my dad. When I was a kid he read Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine with me and from that moment the world of fantasy opened for me. It was my first introduction to the world of literature where anything could happen, anything was possible and it has influenced me as a reader and a writer.

Just Finished:

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I have to have some elements of fantasy or supernatural in my books. So anything just historical, or just romantic don’t interest me. Crime I love in TV shows but as a reader it doesn’t interest me. The only exception are some classics; I love Alexandre Dumas and the Bronte sisters.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

I honestly have no idea! Probably something non-fiction for one of my degrees, or Lord of the Rings. Maybe Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift or   As I was writing this I realised what specific book claims this title, well books as there are two and I can’t be bothered to check their length :P   Both were for comparative literature. One is the Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (which also wins the weirdest book I’ve ever read award as well) and the second is one hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez.

Major book hangover because of:

Probably one of my current books; Goddess of the Sea by P C Cast. I’m kinda enjoying it and want to know what happens, however, I’m having some major issues getting into it as well.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Two (only one is for books, other is dvds) and I think there’s at least 2 big crates full of books under the bed :P That isn’t including my digital shelf aka my kindle ;)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Alanna, the first adventure by Tamora Pierce.

Preferred Place To Read:

I can read anywhere; bed, sitting at my desk, while travelling. Give me a book that I enjoy and I’m lost in it for hours.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

A couple from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series which really helped me grow as a person in many ways:

“Love as thou Wilt.”

“All knowledge is worth having.”

“That which yields is not always weak.”

“When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity upon me.”

Reading Regret:

Possibly not reading some books sooner? Although I’ve promptly caught up to date ;) As is the case with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Gods of Olympus novels. And definitely not having enough time to read all the books I want to read!

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Most of them are all ongoing, so I’m either working my way through or waiting for the next book. I did just start the Mortal Instruments series though and so I’ve got the rest of that. I think I’m also one or two books behind on Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel legacy series (it’s comprised of three trilogies, I’m on the third trilogy but not completed it).

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

  • Old Magic by Marianne Curley
  • Hounded by Michael Hearne
  • Survivor’s Quest (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn

Just three is evil by the way :P

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Laurell K Hamilton’s novels, Jacuqline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy, Anything by Marianne Curley and LJSmith, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series, Kelley Armstrong’s women of the otherworld… hell I could keep going for ages!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Probably the next Heroes of Olympus book, House of Hades by Rick Riordan. It’s out a day before my birthday so guess what list that’s going on! The way the last book ended… to say it was a cliffhanger is the understatement of the century. GIVE ME IT NOW!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Probably ignoring everyone and everything while reading. My mum banned me from reading books in the kitchen before dinner/while dinner was being prepared because she’d ask me stuff and I’d just totally ignore her. Chris would probably say I have no ability not to squeee or talk about books I’m excited about.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey, the first book on the second shelf. The top shelf is dedicated to all my Laurell K Hamilton books, so yeah she’s definitely my most read author!

Your latest book purchase:

City of Bones and City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments book 1 & 2) by Cassandra Clare. We knew the movie was coming out so we got them to read before seeing it.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Oh wow… most likely one of the Anita Blake books by Laurell K Hamilton. I was ill at the time and was reading three books a day, I was totally hooked. Now a days it tends to be MOST books I’m reading for pleasure ;)

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Aug. 15th, 2013

It’s official!

I got my resit grade yesterday, a B3, but I wanted to wait until I got the official notification from my department. I don’t know if I got the classes I asked for yet, might need to wait a few more days for those. I should definitely have creative writing as that was a separate application. I worked so hard for this and I am just so happy to have done it. So to the dear anonymous who left me that nice message on tumblr; what have you got to say now? Clearly as the resit result has shown I am more than capable of getting the grade when “healthy” enough (it’s in quotation marks because my average level of healthy is well.. poor anyway).

I also got a job, it’s temporary and due to some people stalking me online I’m not going to be specific. I had the training for it this week and it seems good and they are very understanding about my disability too. It’s a bit scary, but it’s only temporary so if it ends up being that terrible at least it is only for a while. Despite being temporary it means I’ve gotten my foot in a door and a good amount of experience, both of which will help me in the future. And to be honest I think I needed this; it’s forced me to get some parts of my life sorted rather than letting me just sit back before classes start.

I had hoped that due to these pieces of news that the title of this entry would be something like “Things are getting better”. Instead yesterday’s joy was met with devastating news. Our first cat, Az, who Chris and I left in London as he was settled in, was hit by a car yesterday. He didn’t survive. I managed to get through today’s training, I don’t know how. I spent yesterday on a complete high – until I got this news last night – and now I just can’t even muster a smile at the good news. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy, I’m relieved… but.. anyone who’s ever lost a cat so suddenly will know what I mean. He was only 5 and he is the second cat to die this year, third in less than a year. The other two who I still miss terribly, were 17 and it’s odd for a cat to live older than 15, so yeah… Az was so young and no one could have seen this happen.


Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Jul. 31st, 2013

Hypermobility, thy name is pain

As mentioned in my previous entry, my hyper mobility was one of the major health related problems that caused me so many problems in Term 2. In the past week I’ve been to see my doctor about it, had a physio assessment and had an asthma review by the nurse. All of these were steps in the direction of getting myself healthier in terms of pain, weight and mobility. My doctor examined my knees and straight away saw the problem; my left knee is very hyper extended. To quote a dictionary this means; “extend a joint beyond its normal range”. That is basically what my entire body does, but my left knee apparently just “looks wrong” :-/ The right knee I’m not sure about as it’s pretty banged up from me falling over the week before, so that may have obscured stuff or it may not be as bad as the left one.

I have admittedly been putting off seeing my doctor because as many hypermobile people know, there isn’t that much that can be done about this condition. Doctor’s don’t know what to do with chronic illnesses, and physios can’t solve every problem at once. I wasn’t hugely happy with the assessment I had for physio which involved a whole lot of talking and no actual assessment of the physical problems. I would have expected them to at least LOOK at the problem area. Plus as soon as I mentioned ‘weight gain’ it seemed as though everything else I said lost legitimacy. It’s at least a 4 week wait on the waiting list, so hoping that with my new diet and exercise that I can start to shift the weight before the actual physio begins.

My new diet – I hate diets. I feel that there is too much social pressure to be a certain weight and by saying you’re dieting you are enabling it. As highlighted by the physio’s tactless ‘well that won’t help’ comment, my weight needs to lower considerably. Not just for my HMS but to stop other health problems from arising. Plus I am not comfortable in my current form. This diet is unlike any I’ve had before, it’s very strict which I usually avoid as they are very salad and fruit heavy. I can’t eat either, however, the one we’ve put together for me is easily tailored to me, helps prevent cravings and got the thumbs up from my doctor. It’s called a low-GI (glycemic index) diet and if you google it, you’ll find more information. It aims to work with your body’s natural processes by maintaining your blood sugar levels so that food energy is released slowly. I’ve only been on it a week, but the cravings seem to have gone down and I’ve already vetoed some foods that I just cannot stomach. Namely cottage cheese (looks like vomit) and skimmed milk (looks and tastes like wee wee). The hardest part has been the lack of coffee and I’ve tried some stuff which I was surprised to find very yummy. Once I’ve gotten a settled meal plan I’ll post it up so people can be nosey.

It has been hard starting a diet while concentrating on my resit, but I think it has also helped though. It’s helped me remain positive, by sticking to the diet I’ve been able to feel like I’m succeeding at something difficult and I’ve funnelled that into my academic work. I handed in the resit essay yesterday and I actually feel pretty confident about it. I put everything into that essay and if I don’t get a good mark then I don’t deserve to be studying honours. I also went to an exam workshop yesterday which was very very helpful and explained a lot about what I did wrong last time. I basically regurgitated every fact, scared of all the big fancy names and techniques and thinking that I needed to prove what I knew. I do a bit, however, the markers are looking for our own ingenuity and view point. What we notice and can put together. We went through a lot of questions and themes as well so that helped me to understand the last exam better.


The exam is next week and then that’s it. I’ve either done it or I’ve not. It’s a scary prospect and also a bit relief as I’ll have my summer back again. I can’t think of anything else right now except this resit and I feel guilty if I spend my time doing something else worth while. So I’ve primarily been watching tv, reading and playing little games on facebook during my study breaks.

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Jul. 1st, 2013

TOW the exam results

How do you write a public entry in which you admit your own failure? Why am I writing this at all? I can answer the second question; catharsis to remind myself of the facts. Fact #1 – I was very ill this term, fact #2 – I didn’t fail anything. Unfortunately neither of those facts helped me to feel better.

I guess the best place to start is with my actual grades: C1 for Comparative Literature, C1 for English Literature, D1 for English Language. The English Language is actually ok; I dislike C’s and D’s but I just needed a pass in a subject I was forced to take and hated every minute of it. English language is just not my subject. It’s the C1 for English Literature that is the big thorn in my side. To get into English Honours a B grade is required in term 1 and term 2, I got a B1 for term 1 and term 2 is the C1. On average I have a B3, but they do not accept the average and I thus have to achieve a B grade for term 2 to be accepted into honours. I went through the appeal process and today I found out that I’ve been given permission to resit the exam and resubmit the essay.

On the one hand I’m glad that my health problems were taken into account, that the appeals committee did agree that there were adverse medical conditions and that I deserve the chance to prove myself. I had been worried that because my main issue was depression and anxiety, that it would not be taken seriously. I am very grateful that my university continues to be supportive of all health problems. Now I just need to focus and prove to myself that I am capable of reaching the required grade. I have everyone around telling me I can; that doesn’t magically stop me worrying because I’m not that sort of person. I’ll only be happy when I actually achieve what’s required of me and that is a B. I’d already started planning some of my resit studying, and have library books ready for me. I’ve also formulated a plan of attack, so to speak, aka what texts and what essay question I’m planning to do. The essay questions are the same ones, which isn’t great, but it does give me an opportunity to write a feminist based approach which I feel will provide a stronger essay.

The exam is what worries me the most. I felt like I hadn’t done badly in that exam, or maybe I was just glad it was over with or didn’t want to recognise how bad the questions were. This was our first glimpse of the new questions, and despite being told that we’d be fine looking at the previous papers, I did feel like I’d been thrown through a loop when I first saw the exam paper. This time I have a copy of that exam paper – thank heavens it is already on the library website – so I have something concrete to work from. Hindsight also means I can change the texts around as well. I can do whatever I want provided I don’t redo topics I have already done, so changing texts makes sense.

I have a month basically; until 6th August which is when the exam is held. I had hoped for a nice relaxing summer, one without resits, but I need to remember one important thing – I am only resitting one subject, not 3 like last summer. There is a lot more weighing on this one subject, but I only need to remember one set of texts, one type of exam themes rather than everything I had to cram into my brain in April/May. During July I have a holiday with my parents and Chris which I’m really looking forward to, and I hope I’m able to enjoy it without overly stressing too much about the exam and essay.

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

May. 3rd, 2013

Graphic Artists Wanted!


Apr. 29th, 2013

Summertime begins!

Well, not if you go by the weather, which in Scotland changes every five minutes. But my exams are now finished and so for now it is officially summer time for me. It means that the great big mental to do list has now been put down on paper with everything I can remember at the moment. I’m sure I’ll find more stuff to add to it as time goes on. For now though it keeps me busy and stops me worrying about exam results and finding out about my creative writing application.

I’ve already been busy and completed one of my tasks. I’ve imported everything from livejournal to dreamwidth which was remarkably easy and I can see now why people love dreamwidth, it has so many awesome features. I’ve also got my blog importing to dreamwidth, insane journal and tumblr. All profile info and stuff has been updated at all three journal sites. The list below is mainly online stuff, computer realted and/or creative activities. I have a munch of stuff to do around the house and loads of out the house activities planned for summer. We’re off to Majorca in May and Devon in July. But no one needs to read a list of my household chores :P

I also intend to catch up on some much needed reading and will probably blog more about this another time. Ditto for stuff in World of Warcraft.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Apr. 23rd, 2013

Exam Study Tips & Tricks

As the majority of the students in the UK begin to prep for exams, sites such as studentbeans.com start throwing out articles such as this one; “10 exam period tatics to get you a first“. That’s one of the more sensible ones out there and advises students to make revision timetables and eat regular meals. At the grand (“old”) age of 27 I’ve spent a good portion of my life studying for exams. When I was in secondary school we actually had tests for every subject every half term – yep, that’s right, every half term. Not just at the end of every term. Then there were year 9 SATs, GCSEs, A-levels and then university – twice. I wouldn’t consider myself an exam expert, I still hate them and stress over them. But I have learnt some tricks over the years and also seen some really stupid things done by my fellow students, so now seems a good time to share them.


Do it your way.

The biggest tip I can give to any student is to find their own way to study. You can read hundreds of study guides, you can listen to teachers tell you every single way to study – none of it matters if it doesn’t work for you. Some people are blessed with the ability to cram the night before an exam; the rest of us need a better plan. So don’t be afraid to try and test different methods. If re-reading information doesn’t work for you then try reading it and then writing it down. Or maybe spider diagrams work better for you.


Ignore other people.

I’m actually really glad that I get to take my exam in the disability computer cluster like a little special person. I have always hated the period waiting to go into an exam hall because everyone is talking about what they revised, what topics they hope will be covered. If you’re anything like me it just makes you worry and panic even more about the exam. The creation and popularity of social networks such as twitter and facebook mean that this starts even before you get near the exam hall. Don’t panic because everyone else has studied a certain topic/theme and you haven’t. Last year a lot of people decided to study gender for our English Literature exam and it never appeared on the exam paper.


You are on your own.

Don’t rely on other people because at the end of the day the exam is between you and the sheet of paper in front of you. While social networks are a good way to hash out ideas, don’t be too dependent on them for information. Make yourself familar with your university website and exam procedures; know where your exam timetable will be available and where it can be found. One of the biggest mistakes I find students making is that they expect the university hold them by the hand. This isn’t like GCSEs/A-levels where you will get drilled on so many exam papers that you’ll be sick of the sight of them before you even get to your exam. You’ll get one lecture and/or tutorial about exams and that is it; you’re on your own. They might provide a few past papers and put them up online for you, but generally you’ll be expected to go find them yourself. So after first year you really should know where to find past exam papers.



That probably seems really obvious but I’m not talking about preparing for the content of the exam. Once you know where your exam is being held make sure you know where the building is on campus! Most exam halls tend to be out of the way buildings and rooms you’ll never ever see again. A week or even a few days before your exam go and find the room. Also be careful for room splits – some courses are so large that A-M surnames will be in one place and N-Z will be else where. You’re naturally going to be stressing about your exam so don’t make it worse by getting lost or going to the wrong room.

Prepare your bag, pencil case, clothes, route and if you have health problems your medication. My pencil case is actually more like a first aid kit; I even carry strepsils with me just in case. If you have health problems, disabilities or any physical/mental problems then speak to your tutor, department or advisor of studies before exams. They will most likely refer you to your University’s disability service and their job is to make your life as easy as possible and this includes your exams. Don’t be afraid to have your medication easily available, just put it on your desk at the start of an exam so that the exam staff can see it clearly. They’re going to be more suspicious if they see you rummaging around your pockets half way through the exam :P


Play to your strengths.

One of the benefits of most university exams (especially essay based subjects) is that you will often get a choice of questions to answer. You are never going to know everything and most of your teachers will always tell you to revise extra. If you find that too overwhelming then don’t do it; instead focus on topics that can be moulded to different questions. You may find that your classmates will say certain topics are easier, however, you may find them really difficult. Play to your own strengths. If there was a certain topic or text that you found interesting then go with that. You’ll find it much easier to remember things that appeal to you rather than subjects/texts that bore you to death.

Sometimes it isn’t possible to avoid some of those boring topics, and if you haven’t already gotten them out of the way by using them in your coursework, make sure you balance them out. Depending on the question you might want to put a weak topic with a strong one so that you can piggyback off of the one you know best. Sometimes though if you are really struggling to answer a question because your mind has gone blank, it’s different to what you practised or it just sucks, you might be better placing two stronger subjects together and leave the weaker ones for the awkward question. You won’t find any tutor/lecturer recommend that but they’re not the one sitting the exam. If you just need to pass then forfeiting a bad question to give yourself more time on a better one might be your best plan.


Don’t panic.

That’s a bit of a no sh!t sherlock one because most of us will worry about exams. However, exams at university level tend to come with a big bonus compared to exams in earlier education – you can re-sit them. There is another chance and as hard as it is, it’s better to try and stem the panic of failing and just get on with it. Until you sit the exam you have no idea whether you will pass or fail, so predicting it isn’t going to do you any favours.

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Apr. 19th, 2013


This idea is completely stolen from Janet who recently posted a list of things she dislikes and it sounded like a good idea. I should probably do a list of things I like as well to balance it out.

  1. Ants – This is one of my biggest hates and phobias. Never sit on an ants nest.
  2. Heights – Again, another phobia. I’m not sure when or how this one started, I’ve had since my early teens at least.
  3. Stag beetles – Thanks to my photographic memory I have a very vivid memory of how this phobia started. I managed to contract a sick bug which then went around the entire family (parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, the lot basically). My nan was looking after me while my parents were sick and I went out in the garden. I suddenly looked down and on my slipper sat this massive stag beetle. Safe to say I screamed the house down.
  4. Caterpillars – When I was a kid there was an epidemic of these big hairy caterpillars and they were EVERYWHERE. Since then any caterpillar, even the little ones just freak me out.
  5. Earwigs – Just because they are weird and creepy.
  6. Maths & numbers – I just don’t get them. However, give me algebra and I find it easy peasy. Go figure.
  7. Crunchy vegetables – I just can’t physically eat them, biting into crunchy veg makes me feel ill.
  8. Fruit – I love the taste and smell of most fruit, but again eating them just makes me feel yucky. The only exception is fruit in crumbles where it’s all squishy.
  9. Bananas – The smell of them makes me sick, I really cannot stand them.
  10. Bullies – As a bully victim several times in my life, this one isn’t just a dislike it’s a burning hate.
  11. Prejudice – I feel uneasy putting this because I’m a human being and I do have my own prejudices (see the point above for one example). I considered putting it as ‘prejudice without good cause’ but how do you define that? So I guess the best way to describe what I dislike about prejudice is it being used to hurt people. It’s natural to dislike people but when you use that to harm someone that’s wrong. So sexism, racism, ageism etc. = disliked.
  12. Homophobia – This one gets it’s own point because it is just such a huge topic and it is something I absolutely despise.
  13. Using religion as an excuse for hate – I’m not going to point a finger at a particular religion because it’s the individual people, not the religion itself, that is to blame here.
  14. Ignorance – I have no patience for people that are ignorant. We live in the first world where education is available for everyone and most people have access to the internet. There is no excuse to be ignorant when so much knowledge is available.
  15. Ignorance of invisible illnesses/health problems – There are so many people out there that have no idea what some people go through every day, so many people who are judgemental and claim that people are faking it just to get benefits. I could rant about this all day, I believe I already have in previous blog entry :P
  16. People talking in lectures – This drives me nuts. It’s not only disrespecting the lecturer, it’s also showing no respect for your fellow students. I get finding a lecture boring, or being too ill to concentrate – there are alternatives to starting up a conversation to ease your boredom/discomfort.
  17. Lack of support for long term/chronic health problems – In the government, in schools, in employment – this is a major issue. The only institution that seems to recognise these people need extra help are universities.
  18. Animal abuse – I often to put animals at a higher status than people, and one of the worst things I think people can do is abuse an animal. It sickens me.
  19. Metal/Dance/Rap music – I cannot stand any of these genres of music. I like my music to actually have singing not screaming, cursing and techno crap.
  20. Whiners online – People that read a book series or play a video game and then just whine and whine about it. Mainly this tends to be fans of the author Laurell K Hamilton and players of the game World of Warcraft. They keep buying the products rather than just walking away. No one is forcing you to keep reading/playing!

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Apr. 11th, 2013

Essays & Exam Time

I’m not sure whether to celebrate that it’s only been two months since my last entry, or to slap myself on the wrist again. There have certainly been much longer breaks between entries and one of the reasons this one was so delayed was general laziness on my part. I was having issues with some wordpress plugins (which have hopefully now been fixed *crosses fingers*) and frustration won out.

Now with just under two weeks until my first exam, I figured it was time to blog again. Compared to my December exams the dates have worked out much better. There is also no Saturday exam (hooray!). My essays went as well as I expected; a B1 for my comparative Lit essay which I knew as the strongest of the two. English Literature was disappointing with a C1 but it was to be expected considering how ill I had been and I had to get an extension for it. It means I really need to push for a B or higher in my exam to gain access to honours, although it does say that you can substitute another literature subject grade. So if I get a low grade for English Lit but  a B or higher for Comparative Lit, I may still be able to get into honours. I can always resit, but after last summer I am really looking forward to a stress free summer where I can concentrate on other things.

I have one essay grade still to get; English Language. It was only 10% though and I only need to pass this course to get into honours. The exam is 50% and at first it seemed pretty scary, but once I started revision I realised it isn’t that bad. The good grade for Comparative Lit means I can focus more on English Lit. As if the exam wasn’t scary enough, our course leader has chosen to change the exam this year. Previously we had section A and section B and this year he’s removed Section B, which in my opinion was much easier. Especially when you look at the past exam papers and most of section A is riddled with random quotations (not from the set texts) and then one line “discuss with reference to two texts”. Great.

I’ve sent in my application for honours and along with it an application for Creative Writing. There are only 18 places for this course and we had to send in a portfolio for it. The portfolio was only 1000 words, but it was incredibly difficult to just choose 1000 words of my novel. I got opinions from several people, including my dad who isn’t a fan of that genre, and I got very positive feedback from all of them. It was a nice confidence boost. I only have to wait until the end of the month to hear back, but the wait is stressing me more than my exams!

Chris and I spent a week down in London with my mum, and it was a mixed experience. It was great to relax, spend time with family and friends and finally get to visit Kew Gardens. But it was marred by the passing of one of my cats Ginger. Ginger was 16, he was one of a litter of four kittens that my first cat Tammie had. She died when they were 3 and a 1/2 weeks old due to a heart defect. We had to hand rear them, I was 11 at the time and so excited that we finally had a ginger cat. He was the runt of the litter but you’d never believe it. You could understand why his mum took so long giving birth to him; he was so much bigger than the others. He was always a stupid ginger tom, with a big nose and big ears when he was a kitten. He always got into fights, coming home with his battle wounds which left you wondering what had happened to the other cat.

As you can imagine it wasn’t a pleasant experience and I guess I was lucky to be able to spend his last days with him as he lived in London with my parents, where as I’m in Glasgow. He was my companion from childhood to adulthood, always came when I called and I just can’t believe he is gone.

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

Feb. 6th, 2013

Why “Heathcliff is my man” scares me: The term so far.

This statement was heard as recently as the beginning of term (January 2013), and has been one I have heard many times before. I admit to being intrigued at the prospect of finally reading the novel, of learning about the romantic hero of Heathcliff for myself. We have no reached that point of the course and I have to say not only am I disappointed, but quite horrified. I had expected to have a different view of the romantic story of Wuthering Heights, I hadn’t been prepared for my predisposed idea of Heathcliff as a positive character to be turned completely on it’s head.

The fact is that Heathcliff, while devoted to Catherine, is a violent abuser. What terrifies me is that generations of women, past and present, consider him to be their man, their hero. If you google Heathcliff you are immediately told that he is the archetypal romantic hero. Since when did romance or love come hand in hand with abuse? It suggests that some women still have their heads stuck in the sand when it comes to marital abuse, and more alarmingly makes me wonder how many women think that their peers deserve to be abused by their husbands. Recently there have been campaigns across the internet, from both men and women, about women provoking abuse done to them by flashing a bit of skin. I make the point of including men in this because men are beginning to recognise that they are being lumped together with abusers and rapists just by being male.

So from now on, whenever I hear someone idolise Heathcliff I am most definitely going to visibly wince and will have to bite my tongue to ask why an abuser is romantic.

I am just coming to the end of week 5, which is only of note because it is followed by reading week – aka our version of a half term, a week of holiday without classes. So now that I’m at the half way mark, a review of the term and it’s texts seems ideal. I am also happy to pat myself on the back for keeping up with my reading, as it is only this week that I have fallen behind due to Wuthering Heights. I should be back on track by the time classes resume.

In English Lit we have covered; The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh which was as well written and engaging as his play The Cripple of Inishmaan (last year) but also haunting and terrifying. Then there was the Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark, In the cage by Henry Ford and The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford. Out of those three only the Driver’s Seat stood out and then, like The Pillowman it wasn’t a pleasant text to read.

Comparative Literature part 2B continued the random and weird stories of 2A and included Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad (much more interesting than Heart of Darkness studied in English Lit last term), Franza Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, the play Six Characters in search of an author, and then finally The Nose by Nikolai Gogal. When I say weird I am not meaning it in as an insult; weird is interesting, it’s different. That’s not to say that upon finishing these texts I was left puzzled on many things. Nothing about these is straight forward and each one opens up many questions about identity, what we think of it and how it is constructed.

I have two essays due in the next few weeks; 15th and 18th February and this week we should also be given the questions for our English language essay due in week 1o.

Mirrored from Ruby-Wings.net Blog.

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